/ 21 July 2023

This is Jo’burg Season 1 Episode 9


Two important South African radio stations had their roots firmly in Johannesburg soil, while trying to subvert the airwaves. The banned ANC understood that to overthrow the powerful apartheid state, they needed more than blow up pylons and post offices. Their guerrilla station, Radio Freedom’s first ever broadcast was done one night in 1963 from the boot of a car in a leafy Jo’burg suburb – the real war for the people’s hearts and minds started there.

In the 1980s Capital Radio 604 was more than just a cool station broadcasting from the hippy haven of Port St John’s on the Wild Coast. It’s small, but effective news team was based in Jo’burg, from where they tackled the state, one bulletin at a time.

Host: Charles Leonard

Guests: David O’Sullivan; Mbongile Manyela & Sekibakiba Lekgoathi

Photograph: David O’Sullivan in the Capital Radio news studio in Johannesburg, 1988.


Compiled, produced, hosted & engineered by Charles Leonard.

Recorded in July 2023 for the Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study (JIAS).


  1. Kraftwerk – Radioactivity
  2. Simon & Garfunkel – Bridge Over Troubled Water
  3. Jahari Massamba Unit, Madlib & Karriem Riggins – Le Feu (Pour Belluard)
  4. Miriam Makeba – Beware, Verwoerd! (Ndodemnyama)
  5. Hugh Mundell – Africa Must Be Free By 1983


Capital Radio (David O’Sullivan): 4’00”

Radio Freedom (Sekibakiba Lekgoathi) 38’32”